Lord Justice Lewis, a senior British Court of Appeal judge, has granted the family of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu permission to appeal the UK High Court judgment that found that the British authorities could lawfully evade reaching any conclusion on whether Kanu has been tortured, subjected to extraordinary rendition and arbitrarily detained.
Kanu is the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB. He is being detained at the custody of the Department of State Services after being renditioned from Kenya to Nigeria in 2021.
Kanu is charged with running a proscribed group, jumping bail in 2017, and treason. Despite copious court orders for his release, the federal government has sought his continued detention at the Supreme Court.
The order for the family to appeal was given on 8th May 2023. Recall that in a ruling on 23rd March 2023, the UK High Court had declined Kanu family’s suit for judicial review of the failure of the British government to reach a firm view in Nnamdi Kanu’s extraordinary rendition. This earlier ruling prompted an application for leave to appeal to British Court of Appeal by the Bindmans LLP, the UK law firm representing the Kanu family in the case.
In the current order, assuming jurisdiction over the appeal, Lord Justice Lewis noted that, “The grounds of appeal raise important issues concerning the scope of the obligations on the respondent in relation to requests for consular assistance in respect of British nationals detained abroad and the proper interpretation and application of the decision of the Court of Appeal in R(Abassi) v Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office  UKHRR 76.
“For those reasons, there is a compelling reason for the appeal to be heard, within the meaning of CPR 52.6(1)(b). Permission is granted on all three grounds.”
The new development is contained in a release by Barr Aloy Ejimakor, Kanu’s special counsel, which was sent to THE WHISTLER on Thursday.
According to Ejimakor, “Citing the urgency arising from the continued solitary confinement of Nnamdi Kanu, the Court of Appeal ordered that the hearing of the appeal be expedited. Accordingly, the hearing has been listed for Thursday 22nd June 2023.”
Meanwhile, Kanu’s brother, Kanunta, has reacted to the development. In his words, “My family is delighted that the Court of Appeal has unhesitatingly recognized the importance and urgency of Nnamdi’s case.”